‘Money-driven OTAs are culturally inept,’ says travel agency

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Online travel companies are doing a disservice to holidaymakers due of their staff’s lack of knowledge about the history and culture of popular holiday destinations, are the claims made by a Paris based travel agency.

RentParis.com has warned that the ‘one size fits all’ approach that many of the big international travel organisations have adopted mean that tourists are leaving a holiday with only half the cultural experience.

According to a recent survey by Homestay.com, 70 per cent of British adults want to come away from a holiday with a greater understanding of the country they’ve visited.

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The survey also revealed that British holidaymakers would like to taste a minimum of six local dishes, visit five local attractions and pick up at least 15 foreign phrases in order to get the most enriching experience from their holiday.

RentParis.com have warned that the set-up of companies such as LateRooms, Expedia and Trivago, mean that tailor made packages or in-depth advice from staff about local amenities or history is not possible.

CEO of RentParis.com, Fabrice de Simone said: “Holidays create lasting memories and are experiences that mean a lot to people, travel companies need to start considering a move from quantity to quality. All of our listings have been visited and reviewed by our team. From counting the number of stairs needed to climb to your room, the service of the staff at the local bakeries to the noise from the roads outside, each hotel destination is inspected to ensure it is truly Parisian through and through and that our description fully aligns with the reality.

“It is this level of detail that large companies are not willing to invest money or manpower into, yet there is clearly a demand for it. The distance to the nearest metro or historical attraction is important to know but equally so is that local knowledge about family history, hidden gardens and places marked by Parisian romance that feature rarely in mainstream holiday brochures.”

The local travel agency have hit back at its bigger competitors, accusing them of ‘forgetting’ customers once a booking or payment has been made.

“With many travel booking sites the customer service ends once a reservation is placed. We believe that the online booking company should be held just as accountable, as the hotel and flight operator already is, when it comes to delivering a positive holiday experience” said Fabrice de Simone.

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